On Foreign Entanglements, Matt and Ben discuss new indications that Israel will hold off on striking Iran. Matt brings up the important difference between preemption and prevention. They point out that a nuclear Iran would be subject to the dangers of accidents and mistakes. We shouldn’t grow too comfortable with the Cold War doctrine of mutually-assured destruction, they suggest, just because it happened to work for a few decades. What are the chances of Obama ordering a strike after the election? They close with Ben’s interview with Iraqi opposition leader Ayad Allawi.
On The DMZ, Bill and Matt discuss the killing of Trayvon Martin. Matt argues that the case has led to oversimplification and misplaced political tribalism. They next discuss Obamacare at the Supreme Court—would overturning the law spark a pro-Democrat backlash? Bill sees a way for Justice Kennedy to uphold the law, but it may come at a price.
Reniqua lays out the argument she made in a recent op-ed lamenting the state of America’s conversation about race and urging President Obama to talk more about the subject. Pushing back against her thesis, Conor argues that President Obama is the wrong man to lead such a conversation. He also claims that for all his eloquent rhetoric, Obama’s substantive record on issues with a racial dynamic isn’t strong. Reniqua talks about her frequent frustration with being the only black person in a room full of white people. They next give different versions of the racial conversation they’d like to see more of in America and grapple with the tension between embracing multiculturalism and creating self-segregation.
On The Posner Show, Sarah and Paul discuss this weekend’s Reason Rally. Should a secularist movement model itself on the Christian Coalition? They examine obstacles to a secularist movement gaining political influence and whether religious groups will always have an advantage. The religious right and the Republican Party are united, but Democrats worry that they have to appeal to secularists and religious voters alike. Can those two factions unite around protecting church-state separation? Plus: Do secularists need better public advocates than Richard Dawkins?
On Washington Squares, Michael is joined by Corey Robin, author of The Reactionary Mind, a new book about conservative thought. They discuss Michael’s unusual brand of conservatism and whether violence is an integral part of the conservative mind. Do reactionaries in America today defend entrenched power hierarchies, or are they a counter-cultural force? What ever happened to the old conservative WASP elite? They close with a discussion of the role that the idea of struggle plays in conservatism.
John and Glenn express their outrage at the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. They consider the intersection of violent crime, stereotyping, and “stop and frisk” policies. Glenn explores possible reasons for higher rates of violence in black communities and extols the benefits of organized black protest against police brutality in the wake of this tragedy. John and Glenn liken the Trayvon Martin killing of 2012 to the Emmett Till lynching of 1955. John admits that this case helps him better understand the 1992 LA riots, while Glenn offers a potentially more effective alternative than civil disorder to help the black poor.
On The DMZ: What the Etch A Sketch gaffe reveals about Romney’s consultant problem. Why do politicians and their aides embarrass themselves by sharing private campaign strategies in public? Why is Obama talking so much about energy policy? And why can’t conservatives and liberals admit it when their ideas are proven unequivocally wrong? (With bonus prison-gang metaphor!)
On Fireside Chats, Ellen and Michelle discuss the GOP’s “war on women” and its implications for the elections. Are Romney’s recent comments on contraception a game changer? Ellen argues that contraception is critical to women’s economic well-being. Should the left thank Republicans for sparking a backlash? Michelle points to states like Texas that are eliminating healthcare for poor women. They close with a discussion of the importance of Planned Parenthood.